Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Teflon Tape and You

  1. Back To Top    #1
    spishex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Hillsborough, NC
    Posts
    1,375

    Teflon Tape and You

    I've seen a few mentions here and there of how to use TT, but no one thread dedicated to it. Having seen two excellent examples of how NOT to use it yesterday I feel inspired.

    [attachment=0:31a4usot]teflon.JPG[/attachment:31a4usot]

    Behold: teflon tape. AKA thread seal tape, plumber's tape, polytetrafluoroethylene film. A great resource when used properly. A wasteful, frustrating nuisance when misapplied.

    The first thing to know is when to use it. Teflon tape is used to fill in the gaps and lubricate tapered threaded fittings. These are fittings like PVC male adapters, drain plugs, and pressure gauge threads where the threads are providing a seal.

    Teflon tape serves no purpose on union or lock-ring type connections which depend on an o-ring or some other gasket. The threads on a union, for example, are only used to provide compression to hold the flat surface on one side snugly against the o-ring on the other. Placing teflon tape on these threads would be useless since any water that leaked past the o-ring would escape out the other non-threaded side. This goes for ball valves with unions, most filter cartridge housings, spa heater unions, etc. In short, if there's an o-ring or gasket present there's usually no need for teflon tape.

    Now that you know you've got the right application, how do you put it on?

    Teflon should be wrapped in the same direction as the male threads. Wrapping the opposite direction will usually result in the tape coming unwound as you tighten the fitting. Start at the end of the threads, being sure not to go over the end as this may cause an obstruction. Wrap completely around twice to hold the end of the tape in place, and then work your way up the threads overlapping half the width of the tape as you go. Keep tension on the tape as you wrap so it is pulled completely into the threads. When you get to the end you should have two layers over the entire fitting, and the threads should still be clearly defined through the tape.

    Usually two layers will be adequate. More than three or four and you risk breaking whatever female fitting you are threading into. Bad news since that's usually an expensive piece of equipment like a pump housing or a multiport.

    Are there crusty old fittings in the world that require more than four? Sure! How do you find out? Try two layers first. If you find 2-4 layers isn't doing the trick, consider using pipe dope instead. Or even better, replace the worn out fittings!

    Teflon tape should be removed and reapplied every time the fitting is taken out and put back into place. Also, be sure you're using the standard white stuff. While the colored versions are the same chemically, some are thicker than others and could increase your odds of cracking a fitting.

    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Guest

    Re: Teflon Tape and You

    Excellent article!!!!! Trivial tasks like applying teflon tape are often taken for granted by those that know how to do them but they can mean the difference between a good job and one with problems for someone who doesn't!

  3. Back To Top    #3

    In the Industry
    duraleigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Sebring, Florida
    Posts
    28,414

    Re: Teflon Tape and You

    Yeah, nice post again, Tim.

    I have usually practiced that teflon doesn't do very well on any joint over 1" (pipe dope, instead). Of course, that's just a general guideline but it seems to work pretty well for me.

    Do you think that's being overly cautious or does it make sense?
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Coastalish 'down easter'
    Posts
    4,160

    Re: Teflon Tape and You

    Hey guys

    Tim's post is GREAT!! (and Dave, I know teflon tape will work on > 1" threads)

    I'll give the way I usually tape a threaded connection, just for 'kicks -N-grins' -- I start at the bottom of the threads (on a M/A the end where the pipe will eventuallt glue in) and wrap up to the open end with a small overlap, then back down and back up, ending so that the torn off end of the tape is the first part to enter the female receiver - this gives 3 good wraps of tape to the threads. (Tim, and others, realize that on some older [worn] connections, more tape and even pipe dope can be required, but experience let's you know when a little more is needed)

    I want to re-emphasize that too much tape can crack the fitting!! and one should always start off using the 'normal' amount and retaping with more only when necessary! (TIP - if the threads bottom out, you can use an o-ring to help seal the connection - for 1 1/2" you can use an 0-ring off of a SP 1022-C plug )
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  5. Back To Top    #5
    spishex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Hillsborough, NC
    Posts
    1,375

    Re: Teflon Tape and You

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    Yeah, nice post again, Tim.

    I have usually practiced that teflon doesn't do very well on any joint over 1" (pipe dope, instead). Of course, that's just a general guideline but it seems to work pretty well for me.

    Do you think that's being overly cautious or does it make sense?
    I rarely use pipe dope just out of habit. The only time I tend to have issues is if there's been excessive pressure or heat built up in the system (especially at the pump discharge), and even then changing out the male adapter will usually do the trick.

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Re: Teflon Tape and You

    Don't use teflon tape on plastic fittings it almost guaranties leaks. Most pool stores,
    Home Depot and Lowes has what looks like a large white crayon. It comes with various names.
    and is a very thick version of pipe dope. Just rub some of it in the threads an assemble.
    Most pool plumbers and service people use this product.

    Cliff s

  7. Back To Top    #7
    Guest

    Re: Teflon Tape and You

    Quote Originally Posted by cliff_s
    Don't use teflon tape on plastic fittings it almost guaranties leaks.

    Cliff s
    Only if you overwrap or apply it improperly. Hence this thread!

  8. Back To Top    #8

    In the Industry
    duraleigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Sebring, Florida
    Posts
    28,414

    Re: Teflon Tape and You

    Yep, teflon tape works if used as per instructions above.

    Too many people (me included) have used it over too many years to imply it is not a decent product.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Coastalish 'down easter'
    Posts
    4,160

    Re: Teflon Tape and You

    Just thought I'd give this a little as it's now spring and people are reconnecting threaded fittings

    BTW - for folks who have trouble every year removing the directional eyeballs on the returns -- you can use a single wrap of teflon tape to prevent the plastic male threads from bonding to the female threads so that removal is very easy and won't require tools 8) (of course, unless you have a robotic cleaner that 'eats' the eyeballs out of the returns, the directionals only have to be "loose hand tight" i.e. they don't have to be "cranked" in!!! -- it's easy to adjust the aim of the eyeball with a screwdriver)

    Happy openings all!!
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Prescott, Wisconsin
    Posts
    220

    Re: Teflon Tape and You

    Great post! I think I accidentally taped over the bottom of my pressure gauge ... out to fix it now.

    If some robots "eat" the directional eyeballs, is it best to remove them before running the robot? (I don't have a robot yet, but it's on my wish list ...)
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    Posts
    344

    Re: Teflon Tape and You

    I'll just second the statement that PTFE paste works better on PVC threads than teflon tape. The tape works well for brass, stainless steel, and mild steel fittings.
    Fortune favors the well prepared

    The build...
    viewtopic.php?t=3974
    Freeform 24' x 38' IG gunite. 3 1/2' to 8' deep. 28,500 gallons. AutoPilot Total Control SWCG. Pentair Intelliflo VF. Pentair CCP520 cartridge filter. Colorlogic LED lights. Tahoe Blue Diamond Brite. 1200 sq ft stamped concrete deck.
    More details as they happen...

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Coastalish 'down easter'
    Posts
    4,160

    Re: Teflon Tape and You

    Quote Originally Posted by singerteacher
    Great post! I think I accidentally taped over the bottom of my pressure gauge ... out to fix it now.

    If some robots "eat" the directional eyeballs, is it best to remove them before running the robot? (I don't have a robot yet, but it's on my wish list ...)
    No, you don't need to remove them, but they do need to be in tighter than normal IF you have a robot that, in the course of cleaning the pool, makes the eyeball come out. I've only heard of the robotic cleaners removing the eyeballs once, but figure it's better to err on the side of caution and include the info on the chance of a robot 'eating' the eyeballs
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Sarasota Florida
    Posts
    143

    Re: Teflon Tape and You

    Quote Originally Posted by waste
    Just thought I'd give this a little as it's now spring and people are reconnecting threaded fittings

    BTW - for folks who have trouble every year removing the directional eyeballs on the returns -- you can use a single wrap of teflon tape to prevent the plastic male threads from bonding to the female threads so that removal is very easy and won't require tools 8) (of course, unless you have a robotic cleaner that 'eats' the eyeballs out of the returns, the directionals only have to be "loose hand tight" i.e. they don't have to be "cranked" in!!! -- it's easy to adjust the aim of the eyeball with a screwdriver)

    Happy openings all!!
    Lol, no robot but something at my eyeballs. Time to fix them i guess.
    Kidney shaped ~ 10000 gallon Ig Plaster pool with pool cage. 120sf Cartridge filter. Pentair WhisperFlo WFDS-26, 230 Volt, 7.8/3.0 Amp, 1-1/2 Horsepower 2 speed pump, Solar panels on the roof. Heliotrope HelioMatic 4000D solar controller.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •